The UFC is targeting a middleweight match-up between Australia’s Daniel Kelly (12-1) and former UFC light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (19-5-1) in Las Vegas next month at UFC 209.
After initial reports from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, sources confirmed to Fight News Australia that the match-up is indeed being pencilled in, pending a medical clearance from Rashad Evans.
UFC officials contacted by Fight News Australia could not confirm or deny the news indicating that the fight has not been officially announced.
After winning only two fights in his last four outings, Evans makes the drop down to the middleweight division for the first time. The 37-year-old last fought back in April 2016 where he lost to Glover Teixeira in the opening round. Evans was scheduled to fight firstly on UFC 205 and then on UFC 206 however was not medically cleared on both occasions due to ‘irregular findings’.
Daniel Kelly is one of Australia’s most decorated Judoka’s having been selected to represent Australia at four different Olympic Games, most recently at the 2012 Olympics in Manchester. Kelly’s rise up the ranks of the UFC’s middleweight division has surprised many losing just once in his six outings and is coming off wins against Steve Montgomery, Antonio Carlos Junior and in his last outing, Chris Camozzi.
Kelly joins fellow Australian based fighters Mark Hunt and Tyson Pedro on the card which takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, 5 March (AEST).
Fight Card (announced):
Started Martial Arts training after watching Mr Miyagi and Daniel-son in Karate Kid back in 1987. When the sport of MMA arrived many years later, it was a natural progression. Coverage of local MMA was via scarce posts on forums like the Underground and Sherdog. I embarked on covering the sport in 2002 and since then have written thousands of articles for both print and online media, before branching out and starting Fight News Australia in 2010. Outside the site, I dream of racing an F1 car and hiking the Swiss Alps. Most of all, my family is numero uno.